Comment: Fusing the digital and offline worlds to prosper

On average, UK companies spend more than £1,000 per employee on sales training and development, so with almost 6 million registered companies with around 16 million staff, there is a significant level of investment being made in sales forces up and down the country.

The Scottish digital agency scene seems to be in reasonably rude health, says Simpson. Picture: Stewart Attwood.

In a business-to-business (B2B) environment, the role of the salesperson has evolved as digital technology has developed.

Pre-internet, the traditional Aida (awareness, interest, desire, action) sales model was handled by sales teams, whereas these days, thanks to the bag of tricks that digital marketers have at their disposal, the awareness, interest and desire stages are delivered online with the company’s sales professionals being served up marketing-qualified leads that require closing.

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Given the level of spend being allocated to the training and development of sales teams, aligned to the narrowing focus of these roles, it’s worth B2B companies reflecting on how much investment they are making in their web presence.

This is especially important when you consider B2B buyers will perform eight to 12 online searches and be 57 per cent of the way through the buying process before speaking to a sales person (Accenture, 2018).

On this basis, just think how many invitations to tender you could be pre-qualified out of because of your website.

While we increasingly live our lives online, personal relationships remain important when it comes to the currency of business. For our team at branding, design and digital agency Tayburn, this was recently highlighted in engagements with two professional services firms we work alongside.

Their websites are a key part of their client journeys and much consideration goes into designing user experience. However, the leaders of both firms wish for their websites to provide opportunities for direct client relationships to flourish.

So, instead of performing a 180-degree turn and channelling all expenditure into online lead generation, it’s important to understand how optimised your digital footprint is and where the opportunity to nurture direct relationships with clients and customers should be prioritised.

Earlier this year, we celebrated 40 years in business. Today, we work with B2B brands including The Weir Group, FNZ and Aecom. Increasingly, we are winning business outside the UK and see global growth as key to our strategic focus in the years ahead. Our mantra at Tayburn centres on delivering great value for our clients.

The Weir Group is one of the world’s largest engineers. We designed and built a new global hub for them consolidating 25 websites and more than 500 brands into one platform. As well as delivering tangible benefits to its customers, cost savings were achieved.

Using one shared platform has enabled a community of around 50 marketers to collaborate and engage the global customer base. We have been working with FNZ for nearly ten years evolving their digital footprint as its business has scaled dramatically. Our digital marketing activity showcases their innovation and expertise in financial technology that saw it recently valued at £1.65 billion.

Digital transformation has been a buzzword on the global business scene for some time now and, in response to shifting dynamics, Tayburn has retooled itself as digital-first agency – and all our hires this year have come with entirely digital skillsets.

Taking a look at the Scottish digital agency scene, as a collective we seem to be in reasonably rude health. Our friends at CreateFuture have recently celebrated three years in business and have recorded impressive growth. MadeBrave continue to add big brands to their client list and we have a large community of evolving independent agencies building big reputations for cutting-edge creativity.

So, in the words of the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu: “Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow.”

Richard Simpson, joint MD, Tayburn